AN Oxford woman in need of a lung transplant has spoken out about how it feels to have your life entirely in the hands of others while on the waiting list.

Helen Roper, 37, who has cystic fibrosis, was put on the transplant waiting list last May after her condition deteriorated.

She is now backing calls to encourage members of the public to at least have a discussion with their loved ones about organ donation.

The number of people waiting for a lung transplants has risen by 46 per cent over the past five years, according to NHS Blood and Transplant, which is also calling on people to urgently talk to their families about organ donation.

Ms Roper, who worked in online marketing before becoming too ill, said: “You carry on thinking everything will be okay and then someone sits you down and says maybe it’s not going to be okay.”

“There’s a lot to think about.

“We are all going to do die but it is another thing to know that it will be realistically soon if you don’t get a transplant."

Ms Roper explained donors must be of a similar height and weight as well as a tissue match, making it more difficult to find someone compatible.

She said: “I think the main thing is we need people to talk to their friends and family now about whether they want to donate, because if anything happens, then it’s too late."

Latest figures released for Organ Donation Week last week show there are now 354 people on the lung transplant waiting list compared to only 242 five years ago.

Around 17 per cent of people listed for a lung transplant have died a year later, according to the figures.

NHS Blood and Transplant associate medical director for organ donation and transplantation, John Forsythe said: “Last year, 65 people died on the lung transplant waiting list and many of those lives could have been saved or transformed had more families said yes to donation.

“Telling your family what you want also makes things easier at a difficult time. Sadly, many donation opportunities are lost every year because families don’t know if their loved one wanted to be a donor or not.

“We urgently need people to tell their families they want to donate.”

For more information about becoming an organ donor visit